Click here for FREE music lessons:Two Weeks Free Music Lessons

Curriculum Review: IEW The Phonetic Zoo

Today’s review is of a spelling curriculum from Institute for Excellence in Writing called The Phonetic Zoo Spelling Level B [Starter Set].


IEW Phonetic Zoo

Disclosure: I received a complimentary set of The Phonetic Zoo in order to review it here. I get commissions for purchases made through affiliate links in this post. All opinions are honest and my own.

How to Begin with The Phonetic Zoo

The first part of the program is for the mom or teacher to watch the video “Spelling and the Brain,” which is an hour-long workshop presented by Andrew Pudewa. It was very eye-opening, and I learned a ton about how to teach my kids about learning how to spell. Once again, I am wishing I had heard this information years ago! The video is included in The Phonetic Zoo package.

I chose level B for my 12-year-old daughter to use. She struggles with spelling, so I was happy to find a new type of curriculum to try with her.

Teacher Notes

After watching the video, the next step is to download the Teacher Notes. I printed these and put them in a 3-ring-binder.

Multi-Sensory Approach

What’s really awesome about the program is that it’s a multi-sensory approach. Students are recognizing patterns and learning spelling rules, so that they can be applied to more words.

IEW Phonetic Zoo
Here is an example of a spelling rule. They are given in a chant or jingle:

When a-i says “ay” as in claim and chain,

It comes in the middle as in train and pain.

But when a-y says “ay” as in jay and portray,

It comes at the end. See decay and delay.

Don’t let suffixes betray you as in decayed,

The root never changes. See playful and played.

How a lesson works:

  1. Talk about the lesson with the child. You use the large flash card to read the rule out loud and then have the student read and spell aloud the 3 words that relate to it.
  2. Set up your paper according to the instructions. Mr. Pudewa also recommends the student use a pen and not a pencil.
  3. Using headphones, the student listens to the lesson and takes the test.
  4. Listening to the next track on the CD, the student will rewrite the correction of the word next to the one they already wrote. If the word is incorrect, the student strikes through the incorrect word. The mom/teacher should check this because sometimes the child doesn’t catch all the mistakes.
  5. The student will repeat the test method, listening to the same lesson on the CD, until they receive 100 percent accuracy 2 times in a row.

There are a few lessons which are different. Lessons 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 47 are called Personal Spelling lessons. You can find those words from their writing compositions, or even from Appendix 5 in the Teachers Notes which contains a list of 240 frequently misspelled words. There is also a Final Exam to be given at the end of the Level. (The Phonetic Zoo has 3 levels: A, B, and C.)

There are two things that I didn’t like about the program. One was the voices on the CD. They were not the most fun voices to listen to. The other part is that there is so much repetition is that it can be very boring for some children. However, it works! The students will learn how to spell the words and gain mastery by using The Phonetic Zoo.

What’s Included in The Phonetic Zoo:

To recap, all that is included in The Phonetic Zoo Level B spelling program is

  • The “Spelling and the Brain” video (online)
  • Teacher Notes (downloadable)
  • Set of large flash cards
  • Set of small Zoo cards
  • 5 Audio CDs (also available as MP3 downloads)

Watching the lesson:

IEW The Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum reviw 003

How to do a daily spelling test:


IEW The Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum reviw 001

The large flash card:

IEW The Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum reviw 005

IEW The Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum reviw 006

IEW The Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum reviw 007

Here are two examples of what to do with the smaller Zoo cards:

IEW The Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum reviw 008 IEW The Phonetic Zoo spelling curriculum reviw 009


My IEW Recommendations:

And, here’s my personalized IEW page!


Related Posts:

2023 Free Book Lists graphic
Learn how to fly for free with Families Fly Free

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

All About Spelling homeschool curriculum, now in color